Let the Heralds Arise: On Living to Joyfully Proclaim God’s Good News


Every time we scroll through our phones, turn on the news, or glance at the newspaper, we see the terrible, the shocking, the tragic. As a nation, and even as a world, we’ve grown used to the daily torrential downpour of bad news. Though we limit screen time, avoid the news, and shut the windows—still we hear the wailing of sirens, the constant scream of sin and sorrow running down our streets. Our hearts tighten. What’s happening now?

But it’s not just “out there,” in the world of picket signs and police cars and crackling megaphones. The bad news finds its way inside our homes, to our very hearts. Even around our dinner tables with close friends, the conversation often involuntarily shifts downward. “Did you hear about…?” And, “Yes, but it’s even worse than that now, I heard that…”

The bad news steals our conversation. Chokes our joy. Drains our hope.

In a world with so much bad news, it’s often easy to forget the good. Which is, that Jesus Christ, the Son of God came to rescue and redeem us, and give eternal life to all who believe in him.

It is this good news that God calls his people to remember. And it is this good news we have been born to proclaim.

Comforted and called

In Isaiah 40, God speaks a message of profound comfort to his people. As they sit as captives in the Babylonian exile, the Lord speaks tenderly to his beloved, saying that her warfare has ended, her iniquity is pardoned, and the LORD himself has paid double for all her sins (Isa. 40:12).

He reminds them that despite how things appear, his promises still stand. He will come to his peoples’ aid himself and nothing will stand in the way of his rescue. He will level mountains, and raise valleys, and smooth every rugged place to do so. As Alec Motyer says, “He will arrive without fail, travel without difficulty and be undelayed by hindrances.”[1]

I’ve often turned to this passage over the years, but there is something important I’ve missed before now. Not only does the LORD comfort his people, but he also calls his people and commissions them.

He says this,

“Go on up to a high mountain,

O Zion, herald of good news;

Lift up your voice with strength,

O Jerusalem, herald of good news;

Lift it up, fear not;

Say to the cities of Judah,

“Behold your God!” (Isa. 40:9)


Not only does he help Zion to lift her eyes to see his glory and trust in his promises—but he also calls her to proclaim his good news and invite others into his salvation.

In Isaiah 40:9 he says,

“Go on up to a high mountain.” So that all may hear.

“O, Zion, herald of good news.” You are to be the herald, the bearer of this good news!

“Lift up your voice with strength.” Don’t hold back, don’t be afraid.

“Lift it up, fear not” (40:9). Boldly proclaim this message—and do not doubt the truth of these tidings. For this isn’t the word of man, whose glory is like grass, and whose faithfulness is like the fading flower of the field, but this is the word of our God, which will stand forever (Isa. 40:7–8).

Therefore, go on up. And, “Say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!” (40:9). As in, “Look! Your King is coming! Here is your God coming himself to save you!”

These verses paint a beautiful picture of Zion receiving the good news and then running with it to the surrounding townships. Whereas the message was formerly sent to Jerusalem, now the message is to go out. And she arises as “the heraldess of a victory already accomplished!”[2]

From high upon the mountains, she raises her voice to proclaim the victory of her God and King; and to all who can hear her, she joyfully cries out, “Behold your God!”

This is the cry of a herald.

What is a herald?

Perhaps the archaic language suggests someone who wears a puffy medieval shirt, or carries a trumpet. But thankfully, being a herald isn’t something you wear, or something you carry—it is more deeply, something you are. Something God calls us to be.

He calls his people, “O Zion, herald of good news,” and again, “O Jerusalem, herald of good news” (Isa. 40:9).

But what exactly is a “herald?”

The Cambridge Dictionary defines a herald this way:

“to be a sign that something important, and often good, is starting to happen, or to make something publicly known, especially by celebrating or praising it.”[3]

You see, there is one distinguishing mark of a herald and that is: their message is marked with joy.

They proclaim good news, not bad. Much like the angels at Christ’s birth, who brought, “good tidings of great joy” (Luke 2:10). It’s why the Christmas carol is titled, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!”) Heralds are notably joyful, celebratory, comforting, cheerful. (Perhaps, even jolly.)

What sets heralds apart, is that they are joyful bearers of good news, warmly proclaiming tidings of comfort and joy.

But what exactly is the good news that God has given us to herald to the world?

The Good News

The good news is the gospel of Jesus Christ. What Zion cried out from the mountaintops is an echo of the message that was to come. For we have now seen the fulfillment of the promise in the person of Jesus Christ. In him, our warfare has ended, our iniquity is pardoned, and the Lord’s hand has pardoned all our sins (Isa. 40:2).

Jesus is the one for whom the voice cried out in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of the Lord.” (Isa. 40:3; John 1:23) He is the one for whom the mountains were laid low, and every valley raised up, and every rugged place was made smooth, “a highway for our God” (Isa. 40:3).

For nothing could block or hinder God’s salvation of his people, through the person of his beloved Son, Jesus Christ.

Our sin and his salvation

We were desperate for a Savior. From the garden, our sin had separated us from God. And we were totally helpless to do anything about it. For all had sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). We were under his wrath, destined for death and hell; the just punishment for our sins.

But God, who is rich in mercy, made a way for us (Eph. 2:4–5). Like a highway in the wilderness, like a stream flowing through the desert. He did the impossible, the unbelievable, the unimaginable—by sending his own Son, Jesus. 

God’s own arm worked salvation for us when the Father sent his beloved Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit. And Jesus came in human form and lived in perfect obedience to the Father. And in obedience, he “humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8).

On the cross, Jesus laid down his own life for us. Nails pierced his hands and feet, thorns pierced his brow, and a spear pierced his side. His body was broken, and his blood was “poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matt. 26:28).

Through the cross, Jesus took the full storm of God’s wrath, so we didn’t have to. He took the punishment for our sinful life—and gave to us the rewards of his perfectly righteous life.

He did this because he loved us.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him, shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16)

And he went silently. He went obediently. He even went, joyfully (Heb. 12:2).

What kind of love is this?

As we look to Jesus, high and lifted up on the cross, we call out to a broken and sinful world, and say with tears,

“Behold your God!”

Behold your God

Jesus shows us exactly what the Father is like. And in Jesus, we find a God who did not come for the healthy, but the sick (Mark 2:17). In Jesus, we see a God who invites all the weak, all the lonely, all the poor, all who hunger and thirst for righteousness—to his table that they may be filled. We see a God who comes close at all costs.

We find in Christ, not a God who runs away from us—but a God who runs, who sprints towards us, fiercely and tenderly, to save us. To carry us in his arms, like sheep carried by a shepherd, “that he might bring us to God” (1 Pet. 3:18).

The living God

There’s even more good news about Jesus.

And that is: he’s alive.

In the gospels, there’s this beautiful moment, when the women go to the tomb to mourn for Jesus—and they are met instead by the living Christ. They go expecting death, but then are greeted by Life himself.

They are sent out from the tomb, with fear and great joy, sprinting, in that golden, glowing dawn, to tell the others, like “the heraldesses of a victory that was already accomplished!”[4]

For the victory had been accomplished!

And the message they proclaimed then, is the same we proclaim today, “Jesus is alive!”

For he is the Lamb that was slain.

And yet lives.

Heralds arise

The good news is so good, because God is so good. He has come for us himself. And one day, he will come back for us himself, just as he promised.

Until then, may he find us running with his good news, his gospel, to the ends of the earth.

For though we live in a world filled with bad news, and see the effects of the curse, and feel death’s sting, we have a Savior who has overcome the grave and broken the power of the curse forever. Jesus himself promised that in this world we will have trouble, “But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

In Jesus, we find the deepest comfort and peace we could ever want in this life, and the next. As the blood-bought, forgiven people of God, we’ve been set free from the bonds of death and darkness that once held us, and have been given everlasting life in Christ—to enjoy him forever.

It is him we proclaim.

It is him whom we herald.

Our beloved Savior, Jesus Christ.

Before he ascended into heaven, he said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

The very one who has given us such great comfort, is the very same one who gives us such a great commission. Looking to Jesus, we not only remember the good news of the gospel, we herald it.

For, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” Isaiah 52:7

So, come,

Let the heralds arise.

Lift your eyes.

Your King is coming back.

And coming soon.

And he says,

“Go on up to a high mountain,

O Zion, herald of good news;

Lift up your voice with strength,

O Jerusalem, herald of good news;

Lift it up, fear not;

Say to the cities of Judah,

“Behold your God!” (Isa. 40:9)


Other resources from Rebekah.


[1] J. Alec, Motyer, “The Consolation of the World,” The Prophecy of Isaiah: An Introduction & Commentary, (Downers Grove, IVP Academic, 1993), 300.

[2] Motyer, “The Consolation of the World,” 301.

[3] “Herald.” In Cambridge dictionary (Cambridge University Press. n.d). https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/herald (accessed January 13, 2023).

[4] Motyer, “The Consolation of the World,” 301.

Rebekah Fox

Rebekah Fox

Rebekah authors the blog Barren to Beautiful, where she offers gospel hope to women during infertility and other dry seasons of the soul. She and her husband live in Pennsylvania and have been blessed with three children. She blogs at barrentobeautiful.com
Rebekah Fox

Rebekah Fox

Rebekah authors the blog Barren to Beautiful, where she offers gospel hope to women during infertility and other dry seasons of the soul. She and her husband live in Pennsylvania and have been blessed with three children. She blogs at barrentobeautiful.com